Tuesday, April 29, 2014

YA Guy Presents... YA! for Nature with Kat Ross, author of SOME FINE DAY

Welcome to YA! for Nature, an occasional series exploring environmental issues in Young Adult literature. Today, we've got Kat Ross, author of the science fiction debut SOME FINE DAY, talking about hypercanes and climate change. And at the end of the post, you'll find a great giveaway! So read on....

YA Guy: Welcome to the blog, Kat! Can you tell us about yourself and your debut, Some Fine Day?

Kat Ross: Thanks, YA Guy! Well, the story revolves around a girl who’s lived her entire life underground because Earth’s surface is ravaged by continent-sized storms called hypercanes. I didn’t make that up, by the way! A meteorologist at MIT named Kerry Emanual coined the term back in 1994. He hypothesized that such storms could be possible if the seas got really, really warm. We’re talking wind speeds of over 500 mph. Seriously.

Anyway, I won’t give too much away, but there’s plenty of lousy weather, a dash of romance, scary mutants, despicable bad guys, and krav maga fight scenes. In other words, something for everyone…

YAG: Sounds like a great book! I notice on your Twitter page you call yourself a “climate geek.” I’d love to hear the history behind that!

KR: Ah, yes. I don’t want to exaggerate. I’m not a total policy/science wonk. But I’ve followed the debate as a journalist and editor since the mid-2000s. I was in Rio two years ago when the ultra-hyped U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development went down in flames. Over the last decade, I’ve watched the predictions of very smart scientists get worse and worse, and in many cases morph from being predictions (as in something that will happen in the future) to data (as in something that is happening right now). You only have to look at Hurricane Sandy and Super Typhoon Haiyan to go, hmmmm. Something is wrong here.

YAG: So it's safe to say that your interest in climate change plays into Some Fine Day!

KR: To be honest, there’s so much terrifying stuff in scientific journals right now that I didn’t have to look very far for a white-knuckle plot. But I did know I wanted climate change to be a big part of the story. It’s just…epic. It’s different from most other challenges humanity is facing in the sense that it affects every corner of the globe and it’s basically irreversible. A lot of that carbon will stay up there for thousands of years. And I can’t help wondering, what if the worst case scenarios come true? I’m just naturally optimistic like that.

YAG: Do you think we as a nation and a world have made any significant steps in addressing the threat of climate change?  What more can or should we do?

KR: Yeah, that’s a big one. President Obama put out a climate action plan to cut CO2 by 17 percent by 2020, and he’s cracking down on new power plant emissions, which is good. Scientists say we need to keep warming under two degrees by 2020 to avoid catastrophic impacts--that’s the magic number. Unfortunately, it’s looking pretty unlikely this will happen. A lot of countries are backsliding on their promises. One of the biggest things governments need to do is a real no-brainer: stop subsidizing fossil fuels. The U.S. alone hands out between $14 and $52 billion to the oil and gas industry per year. Basically they’re being rewarded for trashing the planet.

YAG: Last question. You and I are fiction writers, not politicians or pundits. What’s the role, if any, of fiction in calling attention to environmental issues and problems?

KR: Oh, I so agree with that! Writing something preachy or "message-oriented" is--and should be--a death knell. If I want soapbox opinions or boatloads of data, I’ll go to a news site. When I read fiction, I want to be entertained. I want great characters. I want detestable villains, and plot twists that make sense but totally blindside me. I want to feel like I’m in a world that’s more vivid than my own, that I’m tasting, smelling, feeling everything along with the characters. I want humor and I want heartbreak.

But as the author, you can aim for all that and you still get a million choices. Setting is a huge one. So mine happens to be set in a future time where the seas have risen 60 meters and a lot of species are extinct and life is pretty rough. If someone reads my book and it makes them worry or even get mad at the politicians who are sitting on their asses, that’s sure okay by me too.

YAG: Thanks for being on the blog, Kat! Readers, if you want to learn more about Kat and Some Fine Day, here’s where to go:

Kat’s website: http://katrossbooks.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18666113-some-fine-day

And for a chance to win one of three e-ARCs of Kat's SOME FINE DAY, check out the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This looks like an amazing read! Great interview :)

  2. What a great interview. Thanks, Josh, for introducing us to Kat and her book. It sounds intriguing.

  3. love the interview , can't wait to read it

  4. TIME? No way! but maybe? ''CLI FI'' GENRE news in next issue online May 8 -- visualization teaser here -- http://klima101.blogspot.tw/2014/03/two-future-visualizations-of-possible.html - might be useful in discussion of Ms Ross's book too. COOL